Ford Museum roadtrip

I managed to drive up to Grand Rapids, Michigan yesterday to visit the Ford Presidential Museum. I’m still processing the photos, including some I shot in 3D (you won’t need glasses).

UPDATE: Pete’s floor plans look great and are a terrific addition to the White House in Miniature exhibit; they provide some context that is a little lacking. Find the photo gallery here.

Pete goes to a presidential museum

I’m very pleased to announce that Peter Sharkey is:

…very excited and honored to announce that my work will be on display from February 9th to May 24th, 2009 at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

Check the pics and details one Wingnut’s Workings! Weather permitting, I will make a hasty trip up there on Friday. Pete, I’m mortified that I haven’t been checking Wingnut’s Workings every day! (In my defense, I’ve been busy shortening Hamlet).

Speaking of which, check out the recreation of the Cabinet Room rug!

Zweifel White House opens in Ford Library

The Zweifel White House in Miniature exhibit just opened at the Gerald Ford Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

January 20 through May 24, 2009
GRAND RAPIDS — The White House in Miniature exhibit will be back at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.  Americans will now have the chance to get an insiders tour of “The Presidents’ House” without the hassles of traveling to the nation’s capital. That is why John and Jan Zweifel have labored since 1962 to create The White House in Miniature, a breathtaking scale model of the White House that is 60 feet long and 20 feet wide. The replica took more than 35 years to research, design and construct.

Among the features are tiny, working televisions, hand-carved chairs and tables, crystal chandeliers, portraits and miniature carpets that reproduce the originals stitch by stitch- each nuance of the White House is painstakingly reproduced to capture the elegance of one of the world’s most recognized residences.

If it took me 35 years to do something, I wouldn’t be bragging about it. Then again, working miniature televisions? Whoa.

I live 2.5 hours away from this, so if the weather is good in the next couple of weeks, I’ll probably find some time to visit.

Road trip: Reagan Library

I’m currently working in far-flung Rancho Cordova, California, near Sacramento, which Google places 6 hours away from the Reagan Library in Simi Valley and 6-and-a-half from the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda.

I think I’ll plan to stay over one weekend and visit those locations as well as San Francisco. Does anyone who has visited those libraries have any travel tips? Traveling on business, I have the luxury of staying overnight in that area, giving me a jump on the next day.

DC day 3: monumental error

Today I got up late and failed to get to the Washington Monument in time to get a ticket; they were all out by 10:30. So I went to the Natural History Museum, which was my plan anyway while I waited for my time to go the WM. After an exhausting couple of hours there seeing my fill of trilobites and buying the Hope Diamond for my mother, I walked over to the White House and shot it in full sun.

By this time, my back was killing me because, over the past twelve years as a technology consultant, my back muscles have been replaced with Hostess cream filling (I can explain the process and cost benefit with a PowerPoint presentation and Excel spreadsheet).

Nevertheless, I stopped in and toured at the Latrobe-designed Stephen Decatur House (great call, John). It’s in the process of being restored to its early-19th-century origins; thankfully, the first thing they restored was Latrobe’s kick-ass air-conditioning; you would have thought it was a meat locker. It’s an unusual house in that the kitchen is up front, as in a modern house, and the entertaining rooms are upstairs. It has the same in-frame shutters that the White House once had. And, authentic to its period, the front lamps are lit by gas and no photography is allowed inside—altho woodcuts and scrimshaw are presumably okay.

Then I cabbed it over to the Spy Museum, which was way better and more popular than I had imagined. It’s built into a storefront and doesn’t look like much from the outside but is designed very compactly, so there is a lot to see (but no photography!). The tight space adds to the atmosphere of espionage (as does the rampant, surreptitious camera-phone use), and the exhibits are very well done. Of course, at $16 a head and patrons streaming in and out for the full extended-hour day, they can afford to make it really cool. By the way, if anybody asks, my name is Billy Henderson; I’m a 14-year-old American student here in London on vacation for 9 days, and I have always had a mustache and a limp.

Oh, and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum just opened with—I kid you not—lines around the block. I shot it after it had closed and the lines were only half-way around the block. It’s a pretty cool exterior design, with all the glass, altho I think they missed an opportunity to do a Nighthawks/Boulevard of Broken Dreams take with JFK, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and James Dean.